Dodes’ka-den (1970) one of Akira Kurosawa’s most endearing films

The boy conductor, riding around the junkyard on his imaginary train, is the centerpiece to all the pains, grief, and highs of living in poverty. Kurosawa shows this world in wonderfully vivid colors, painting the unfortunate with humanity and grace, while also showing the dark side. The entire ensemble delivers idiosyncratic performances and helps build the culture and ideologies of this place. One of Kurosawa’s most original and endearing films. … More Dodes’ka-den (1970) one of Akira Kurosawa’s most endearing films

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955) is Buñuel brilliantly playing off genre

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz subverts all expectations of the noir genre. It runs counter to every natural impulse within the genre and all the familiar conventions. It’s funny because only a director with a deep understanding of noir conventions could make something this explicitly sideways. It’s a dark, symbolic narrative that follows a character in Archibaldo (Ernesto Alonzo) who yearns to be a hardwired serial killer he’s envision since he was a boy but unfortunately for him, is confined to his mundane life as an upper class bachelor with sociopathic tendencies. It’s a case of hilarious timed writing with many plot devices that take the quintessential noir intensity and alter it for comedic effect. Buñuel brilliantly plays off the basic moodiness of the genre while keeping his placid style. There’s a sense of truth in all his work and once again here as Archibaldo desperately wants to die a criminal with no morals, but is remembered as an upstanding citizen who helped others. … More The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955) is Buñuel brilliantly playing off genre

The mythological storytelling of Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus (1950)

The mythological storytelling of Jean Coteau’s Orpheus is a wonder. He captures the ethereal in the cinematography, editing, writing, and performance. He presents an all-encompassing look at all the hidden facets of the world, revealing an existence under the surface. … More The mythological storytelling of Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus (1950)

CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Cremator (1965) a viscous and bitterly funny romp of the Czech New Wave

The Cremator is a pure gem of the Czechoslovakian New Wave film movement. It’s a bizarrely twisted look at a cremator, who has a deep fascination with reincarnation, Tibetan monks and aryanization, that finds himself at odds with his family due to his wife and children being Jewish. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Cremator (1965) a viscous and bitterly funny romp of the Czech New Wave

CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Tragedy of Macbeth a towering avant-garde performance piece

he awe striking visual element from Bruno Delbonnel leans into the surrealism of Joel’s vision for this adaption of Macbeth. There’s an encroaching darkness in the atmosphere, spurred on by the incredible performances and harrowing sense of dread in the black. The entire cast delivers the source material to unbelievable, discerning highs.  … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Tragedy of Macbeth a towering avant-garde performance piece

CERIFIED WIERD: Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” a subservient mess

The Duke of Burgundy is Peter Strickland playing around with the form and narrative. It’s a sensual, vitriol battle of subservience and visually disturbed with harsh darkness. However, the film is entirely unengaging on a narrative level. After the dynamic between the two women is established, the mystery is lost and the film relies on the dark avant-garde visual element to carry the story. Strickland has moments of unsettling atmosphere, but it mostly felt underwhelming and lacking substance. … More CERIFIED WIERD: Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” a subservient mess

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta a triumph of provocation

Paul Verhoeven always creates lived-in worlds and his retelling of Saint Benedetta’s life in the Catholic church is PURE Verhoeven. Impending darkness presiding over a sexual awakeneing, provoking the audience with every subsequent scene. It’s a beautiful rendering of sexual freedom through the guise of religious restriction. It’s violent and bloody. Apocryphal and full of juicy drama. Plus, filled with damning religious imagery and powerful metaphors. What we’re left with is one of Verhoeven’s best films.
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CERTIFIED WEIRD: Silent Night is an unbalanced black comedy with little laughs

The concept behind Camille Griffin’s holiday black comedy Silent Night had potential, but the tonal balance of the film betrays the comedy elements, melodrama, and warped sentimentality. It sets out to make a Hallmark moment Holiday extravaganza while looking directly into the eye of impending doom. The ensemble piece takes center stage at the end of the world slash Christmas get-together, as the script slowly but surely reveals more damning plot details.  … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Silent Night is an unbalanced black comedy with little laughs

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó (1996) is a masterpiece

The seven-hour myopic, nihilistic, and dystopian Hungarian masterpiece from Béla Tarr, Sátántangó, captures a moment in time closer to the actual reality of the situation better than almost any other film in existence. It’s painfully long and exhausting, by design, and doesn’t take any creative liberties off the table. It’s a film with so much pessimism embedded into its code that any other line of thought is almost impermissible considering the circumstance and lack of authority. The shared apathy of the characters towards themselves, others, and their dire circumstance is a danger to all and Tarr explores this utter disconnect from the reality, a pseudo-reality showing people for what they are, not idealizing a piece of this story. It’s disheartening, cold in the depiction, constantly raining that never ceases to stop, creating an atmosphere of distrust and egocentricity that poison’s the town. It’s an impossibly cruel seven-hour watch and hard to imagine the film conceptually, but is the one film, outside of a similar project in terms of length and story structure, Masaki Kobayashi’s 9-hour masterpiece The Human Condition, that authentically conveys what it means to be human and the human disposition. It’s a towering achievement in storytelling and I’m incredibly happy art like this exist in the world. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó (1996) is a masterpiece